Paralysis has been described as the most devastating injury the body can sustain and yet survive. Unfortunately, the immediate and lasting damage is only part of the problem. There are a host of dangers, physical, emotional, and financial yet to be faced.
WheelchairIf you or your loved one has suffered a paralysis attack then you might know that it can be a very disheartening prognosis. But there is a way to rehabilitate and make your loved one more self-sufficient. Here is a post on treating and rehabilitating a paralysed patient.
Paralysis Treatment And Rehabilitation Tips
Natural Ways To Cure Paralysis
The cayenne increases the blood flow in the human body and as a result the restricted nerve of the paralyzed area of the face gets opened up eventually. The patients should make tea from the tincture of cayenne and must drink it 3 times a day to increase the blood flow. On the other way they can even rub the cayenne to the affected areas of the face to get relief. Pregnant women and people having high blood pressure issues should consult a herbalist before using it for the facial paralysis.
This herb contains a compound named as berberine and it helps to restore the blood flow in the blood vessels. The root of this herb is to be steamed and the extracted water should be kept. Then a clean cloth should be dipped into it and squeezed properly. With this cloth the patients need to give warm compress to the face as much as possible. Otherwise its root should be mixed with cayenne to make a paste, and then this paste should be applied on the face 3 times a day to reset blood flow to the paralyzed muscles.
This herb contains a steroidal anti-inflammatory property that is highly beneficial for the nerve related disease. The tea is highly beneficial for this disease as it reduces inflammation and pain of the patients. The patient needs to boil 2 cups of water with 2 parts of the licorice root to prepare the tea. This tea should be taken 3 times a day before the eating time to get the relaxation.
Ginger is considered as the natural pain reliever as it contains an ample amount of anti-inflammatory properties. The patient needs to take 2 tablespoons of ginger juice, 2 tablespoon of flax-seed powder and 2 cups of water and should boil it. Then this mixture is to be taken with a slight bit of honey to get optimum benefits. On the other way the patient can paste the ginger and should cover the affected area for 45 minutes to get the soothing effects.
This herb is very useful for Bell’s palsy as it is sources of calcium, amino acids, folic acids, fibers and vitamins. The patient can extract the juice from this plant and take it directly to get benefits as it strengthen the nerves in the muscles. The patients must use the steamed asparagus in their day-to-day food to get better results for the facial paralysis.
The patients can also use 1 tablespoon of lemon flavored cod liver oil before every meal to get benefits as it acts as a steroid therapy.
Wheelchair and walkers
Wheelchair is a mobility aid and it can be manual or electric. There are a few modified versions such as folding wheelchairs, motorised wheelchairs, light weight wheelchairs with split frame chassis, and other more developed versions.
A new type of wheelchair is available these days (in India as well) that has a seating and positioning measurement analysis system which captures seat and back pressure distribution and contact area. Called ‘Conformat System’, this conforming sensor helps reduce ‘hammock-ing’ and reduces the incidence of ulceration and tissue deterioration.
There is another type of wheelchair called ‘standing chair’ which allows the person to rise to a standing position. This type of wheelchair too reduces the risk of pressure sores.
The walkers too are nowadays available with wheels. This type of walker helps the person to walk without lifting the walker. (Read: International Day of People with Disabilities: How inclusive and accessible is our society?)
Prosthetics and orthoses
Orthoses are external mechanical devices which support, prevent, correct and assist body segments in neuromuscular skeletal conditions.
Prosthesis is a device that replaces or extends a limb, extremity, or other body part.
Researchers are working on systems that achieve muscle contraction through functional electrical stimulation (FES) that effectively allow patients with quadriplegia to regain control of hand movements and to achieve a greater measure of independence in daily activities. The Northwestern University researchers have developed a neuroprosthesis based on FES system that is controlled by recordings made from microelectrodes permanently implanted in the brain. They have successfully tested it on lab monkeys.
Medication and aids for managing paralysis
In most cases, spinal cord injury and paralysis result in the loss of normal bowel and bladder function. So, a catheter is used to empty urine from the bladder. Bowel retraining, enemas, and sometimes colostomy (surgery of the bowel) are done to help people with paralysis empty their bowel.
Pain caused by nerve damage is normally relieved through medicines such as amitriptyline or pregabalin, since common painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen are ineffective in such type of pain.
Breathing difficulties that arise through spinal cord injury to the upper neck is often treated using positive pressure ventilators that are either invasive or non-invasive.
For abnormally stiff muscles (spasticity) and involuntary muscle spasms, treatment involves use of muscle relaxants such as Baclofen, Tizanidine or Dantrolene. Sometimes, Botox is given for localised spasms.
A relatively new treatment for management of spastic paralysis is the intrathecalbaclofen (ITB) therapy in which consistent optimal dosage of Baclofen is delivered via a programmable drug pump implanted in the fluid-filled space around the spinal cord. Success of this therapy was reported from the Apollo Hospital, Kolkata, where Dr Anirbandeep Banerjee and his team performed this procedure on a 63-year-old paralytic man who did not respond to other treatments.
‘The patient responded positively when we tried the therapy right from the beginning. Within two weeks of surgery, he was able to get off the bed and sit on a chair without any support. This rapid improvement in the patient is a real bonus for us,’ said Banerjee.
With all these aids and treatments, it has become easier to manage paralysis and live a quality life. However, it is important to note that pressure ulcers can develop if a person is unable to move regularly due to paralysis. Care must be taken to ensure that preventive measures such as changing position regularly or pressure relieving devices are used. It is also important to exercise regularly and stay fit. Your physiotherapist will recommend the exercises and activities.
Causes of paralysis and their symptoms
Statistics show 1 in 50 people globally have been diagnosed with some or the other kind of paralysis. Paralysis is mainly caused by the following conditions
1.Stroke Almost 30 percent of all paralysis are caused by stroke. Types of paralysis from stroke include
Hemiplegia or one sided paralysis
Hemiparesis, that is, weakness or inability to move one side of the body
Spasticity, meaning, stiff or tight muscles
Dysphagia or trouble swallowing
Foot drop or inability to raise the front part of the foot
2. Spinal cord injury
It is the second largest cause of paralysis after stroke. Spinal cord injury may occur because of work place accidents, motor vehicle accidents, sports accident, falls, birth defects, being a victim of violence, natural disasters, and many other known and unknown causes.
3. Multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disorder of the central nervous system. Although MS does not always cause paralysis, most people affected with MS will need mobility aids such as wheelchairs or crutches because of fatigue, weakened muscles or balance problems.
4. Cerebral palsy
In simple words, cerebral palsy is brain paralysis. It is neurodegenerative disorder that occurs as a result of abnormal development or damage to the parts of the brain that control movement. As the name suggests, paralysis is a characteristic symptom of the disorder.
5. Post-polio syndrome
It is a condition that affects survivors of polio. The syndrome can occur years after initial polio attack. Muscle weakness, fatigue, and paralysis is a common symptom of the syndrome. The cause is unknown but experts opine that the syndrome can occur because of fatigue of overworked nerve cells or brain damage due to virus or combination of both and other factors.
It is genetic disorder that causes tumours to grow around the nerves. Paralysis may occur if the nerves are damaged. Usually the tumours are benign but they may turn malignant and cause cancer.
7. Traumatic brain injury
It is a brain injury that occurs when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, for example a motorbike accident or victim of an assault causing injury to the brain and resulting in partial or permanent paralysis.
There are other causes too but mainly the above mentioned ones are the main causes.
What may look like obvious symptom of paralysis may actually not be paralysis. Numbness, weakness in muscles or muscle cramps may ‘feel’ like paralysis but it is actually not so. It’s only the complete loss of muscle function that is construed as paralysis. Paralysis may affect either one side of the body or both sides, upper limbs, or just the legs, sometimes the whole body is paralysed except for the eyes. Usually paralysis are occur along with some of the following symptoms.
Loss of consciousness (could be brief) or confusion
Clumsiness and numbness
Cognitive difficulties, difficulty writing or speaking
Changes in mood or behavior
Loss of bladder or bowel control
Loss or changes in vision and/ or hearing
Nausea with or without vomiting
The first step in diagnosis of paralysis is physical exam by the doctor. Next the doctor will talk about the symptoms and family history. Diagnosing will not be difficult if the cause of paralysis is obvious, for example, paralysis after a stroke. If the cause is not obvious, then the physician will order specialized tests such as .
CT scan (Computed tomography)
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans
Electromyography (usually used to diagnose Bell’s palsy)
If required the patient will then be referred to a neurologist.
Treatment and Recovery from paralysis
You may ask – are there chances of recovery from paralysis? The answer is – yes and no. Researchers and medical professional are confident that partial or even complete recovery is possible with some types of paralysis.
Whether it is paralysis from stroke, spinal cord injury, or polio, treatment and recovery techniques are similar. Treatment are usually aimed at restoring the brain-body connection.
For example, researchers at Southampton UK, with funding from the Stroke Association, have developed a wearable electronic device that helps recover arm function by delivering tiny electrical currents to the nerves thereby activating hand and arm muscles. This method is called Functional Electrical Stimulation.
FES is already in use for recovery in lower legs and feet paralysis.study published in the journal Brain reported that electric pulse stimulation paired with assisted exercise program for 7 months enabled paraplegic subjects with zero-movement to regain a significant degree of leg control, allowing them to get up (stand) for some time without outside help.
A) USE SOCIAL MEDIA. Blogs are vital. Twitter, Facebook, etc. are great ways to reconnect with friends, and make new ones. Social media gives access to needed services/resources.
B) Make friends. Talk with those like you. Their experience will enlighten and take the sting out of learning. We are not alone, and it is good to see what others have done. Their success shows we can prevail. Remember the movie, “The Edge”, with Anthony Hopkins? Trapped in the wilderness with nothing but a home-made spear, he faced a rampaging grizzly bear—and survived. As he said in the film, “What one man can do–another can do”!
C) Adapt your house. You need to have a dwelling that is functional– even if that means moving or downsizing. Doors must be wide enough for wheelchairs to fit through. Bathroom must be properly set and equipped. A kitchen needs to be useable by the person in the chair– at the very least where good food can be reached by the person with the disability. Look up Mobility Magazine for tips on wheelchair living.
D) Get your transportation ready. Being housebound must be avoided at all costs if possible, plus you need regular doctor visits that require transportation. It also gives one a great sense of independence being able to drive where and when you want.
E) Above all, remember you are in charge. You always have choices: figure out what they are, and control them. To know your options, research and reading is key. You can do what too many people do, and just live and learn the hard way or you can get a “cheat sheet”, learning from others– and gaining and sharing strength for everybody’s benefit. You don’t know, what you don’t know, until you talk to someone else who has lived with the condition, and/or is trying to cure it. Above all, try to control your attitude toward the injury- you are in charge, not the injury.
Blood clots are dangerous because they can block arteries and cut off blood flow, a process called ischemia. An ischemic stroke can occur in two ways: embolic and thrombotic strokes
A blood clot forms somewhere in the body (usually the heart) and travels through the bloodstream to your brain. Once in your brain, the clot will travel to a blood vessel small enough to block its passage. The clot lodges there, blocking the blood vessel and causing a stroke.
In the second type of blood-clot stroke, blood flow is impaired because of a blockage to one or more of the arteries supplying blood to the brain. The process leading to this blockage is known as thrombosis.
Strokes caused by the breakage or "blowout" of a blood vessel in the brain are called hemorrhagic strokes. (Source: National Stroke Association)
TREATMENT: Tissue plasminogen activator (TPA), or alteplase, is a clot-buster drug that dissolves the blood clot causing the stroke. There is a narrow window of opportunity to use this drug, so the earlier that it is given, the better the result and the less potential for bleeding into the brain. Aspirin or anticoagulants like heparin are also used. Rehabilitation is also used to restore strength to the patient and get them used to their post-stroke lifestyle.
NEW TECHNOLOGY: Revascularization Device is a mechanical thrombectomy device combining the ability to restore blood flow, administer medical therapy, and retrieve clot in patients experiencing acute ischemic stroke. It mechanically breaks up and removes the blood clot. It has optimal radial force for flowing through all clot types, stable recanalization for the adjunctive use of medical therapy, and optimal metal to tissue ratio for reliable clot retrieval. It has demonstrated effective clot removal in vessels sized 2 to 5.5 mm.
- Make a list of chores that need to be done mowing the lawn, fixing dinners, money for bridge tickets to go back and forth to the hospital and keep that list with you on a 3×5 card or little notebook. People will be coming up and saying, what can I do to help? Take out your list and give them something they can do.
- Talk to a lawyer. Because you do not know your legal rights yet, patient and/or family must talk to a lawyer: a personal injury lawyer. This costs you NOTHING, and it may save you more than you can possibly imagine. In your phone book, look up attorneys, personal injury or accident lawyer, you will find lots. First, tell the lawyer on the phone that you are interested in finding out if you have a possible case, and that you will see him/her on a “CONTINGENCY” basis. This is typical; if they want money up front, go somewhere else. Contingency means the lawyer gets nothing from you, not a nickel unless you win in court. If you do win, typically they get 1/3 of whatever settlement you get, which is fair. DO NOT SIGN ANY SETTLEMENT DOCUMENTS UNTIL YOU TALK TO YOUR OWN LAWYER. Otherwise, you may get paid a few thousand dollars instead of millions you may be entitled to. (Paralysis medical bills are huge.)
- Contact your BANK and set up a simple checking account. Title it the (name of patient) Relief Fund. Later, you may want to set up your own tax-exempt foundation,but right now you have immediate financial needs. Having this account lets people donate.
- Write up a one-page summary of what happened. Spend time on this, make it accurate, but clear and short. Do NOT assign blame just the facts, “Roman Reed was injured in a college football accident, and is currently paralyzed from the shoulders down.” Spend some time on this one page summary, have several people read it and give suggestions. You will need it many times. At the bottom of the page, put: DONATIONS REQUESTED: Send to name of the checking account you set up.
- Once you have that summary, call your local newspaper, ask for the news editor, get a story done about your loved one or yourself and the paralysis. Tell him/her the story briefly (read the summary, if that is easier) ask if you can send them a newsrelease (again, your summary). They will say yes. I used to be a reporter, and about 70% of all stories are planted from the outside. Important: the article must give the address of the bank account where people can send donations. When the article comes out, make photocopies/electronic files of it. These will be helpful later.
- Contact your local assembly person. (This is your district leader, not the national senator or representative state government in California that means state Assemblyman or state Senator. Their address will be in the front pages of your phone book. Ask for the health aide. Tell them you will be sending them a letter (hard copy is best) asking to see if there are any STATE PROGRAMS or government assistance available. For instance, some states will build you a free wheelchair ramp for your house, or may provide free or lowcost home health care assistance. But this will not happen unless you ask.
- Make a binder labeled “Insurance”. Keep all your insurance correspondence in there. When your insurance representative says “no” on anything, do not accept it. Immediately write back and tell them that answer is unacceptable, and how should you appeal it? Be polite, but firm. Remember, if they want you to give up; if you do, they save money. So, unfortunately, you will have to argue with them at every step. But it is worth it. If you are persistent, you can almost always get more benefits than they will first admit. (Some actually have a policy of always denying coverage first knowing that most people will just say, oh, okay, and accept it so don’t take no for an answer.
- My mouth was turning to the side," explains Jorge Lazo a stroke patient.
- "I thought that he was not going to be alive," says Jorge’s girlfriend Beatriz Rodriguez.
- Two blood clots stopped the flow of blood and oxygen to his brain, paralyzing the left side of his body.
- This is the kind of stroke that leaves the patient disabled for life," explains .
- Clot-busting drugs couldn't dissolve the blockages.
- Something FDA approved just 29 days before Jorge's stroke. Five and a half hours after the stroke the doctor performed this catheter-based surgery with the solitaire device. Once in the brain the closed mesh tube goes through the clot. Then the tube opens up and grabs it.
- "Allowing us to retain the clot as we're pulling the device out of the body.
- Studies show solitaire is twice as effective as similar clot-removing tools.
- "The procedure went really fast,I was able to get both clots out within the hour.
- When the blood flow was restored, something amazing happened.
- Jorge regained function of his left side. He's able to walk and thanks to rehab is lifting his left arm too.
- "Usually patients need more time to achieve what he's achieving," describes, Neurologist and Neuro Rehabilitation Fellow at University of Miami Health System.
- He's mobile because of this micro-blood clot remover that made it to market just in the nick of time. Jorge is now home and is doing outpatient rehab to help restore more of his function.
Both sports have been modified in a way that allows almost all injury levels to partake. Lorio also states that the idea of a non-competitive approach to sport is to "allow participants to learn, recognize, and appreciate diversity, personality, and style within the individuals of a team or group. This also helps in building cohesiveness, connections and understanding of other team members, stimulating creative idea-generation and problem solving, and having fun."
In addition to baseball and soccer, the Miracle Field is also used to play wheelchair basketball. Historically, wheelchair basketball has been one of the most popular sports for those living with paralysis. The rules on the Miracle Field are modified for children so that, "every player scores at least one basket. Little Tyke hoops are used for the more physically challenged players and no score is kept. Each team wins every game," explains Lorio.
Typically, wheelchair basketball for adults is played on a full size court and with a ten foot hoop. Dribbling requires the player to bounce the ball at least once within two rolls of his or her wheels. There are various rules and fouls that make wheelchair basketball unique; however, the essence of the game is unchanged.
(If you haven't already seen it, check out this incredible commercial by Guinness that features a group of friends playing wheelchair basketball together.)
Auburn University's adapted sports program used its 2009 Reeve Foundation Quality of Life Grant to promote physical activity, a healthy lifestyle, and competition for those living with disabilities. Doctoral student, Jared Rehm explains, "The idea was that sport brings people to physical activity and helps them to develop healthy habits in a fun way that ensures commitment to the process of being healthy."
As far as playing wheelchair tennis goes, anyone with lower limb impairment is able to compete. The only modification to the rules is that the ball can bounce twice on one side before it needs to be returned. The first bounce must be within the court; however, the second does not have to be.
Initially, tennis was the main focus of the grant because, "it was readily available to us to begin the program," says Rehm. "I had a good deal of experience playing and it being an individual sport allowed us to have the program without needing many more people initially. The hope was that this would lead into more opportunities as we involved more people, which it has." The grant has helped Auburn raise awareness on campus that there are physical activity opportunities for those living with disabilities.